Buying a Home

Buying a home, particularly for the first time, can be daunting. Our Plymouth based solicitors and lawyers can help you through the process, making it as swift and painless as possible.

Image of couple moving into new house for Buying a Home Plymouth Conveyancing Solicitors page

Below we will go through the stages of buying a home so that you can feel comfortable with the process. But first we would like to highlight the main reasons for choosing Gard & Co. to guide you and complete the legal complexities:

  • Free initial discussion with no obligation
  • Fix fee quotation in person, by phone or online now
  • Friendly and approachable people
  • Your own dedicated conveyancer with direct line access
  • Law Society CQS accredited standards
  • No Move No Fee guarantee

Stages of Buying a Home


When you have had an offer accepted to buy a home you will need to instruct a solicitor.  By choosing a Conveyancing Quality Scheme accredited solicitor you can be assured that your conveyancing will be conducted by a law firm that has passed very strict standards set by the Law Society.  When instructing your conveyancer they will need from you:

  • your details
  • the address of the new property
  • details of mortgages (if any)
  • agreed purchase price
  • estate agents details (if any)
  • seller’s name & address
  • seller’s conveyancer’s details

Preliminary Enquiries

You will need to provide your conveyancer with payment for searches. When payment has been made and an appropriate plan received from the seller’s conveyancer, searches will be submitted.

If there are particular matters that you wish to be investigated then please raise them early to avoid delay later.

Since the seller is under no obligation to disclose physical defects, you will need to consider at the outset whether you should have a survey carried out to ensure you are going to get what you expect.

You may choose from a range of options including a home buyers report and valuation to a full structural survey.

Contract Review

Your conveyancer will receive a contract for approval and completed questionnaires. The documents will be studied and copied to you for your information.

Your conveyancer will then send off searches and raise any further questions or issues arising from the review and will pursue any additional matters that you require to be investigated.

Signing the Contract

When all enquiries have been answered, satisfactory search results received and a written offer of mortgage, (if any) obtained, the contract will be approved. The contract is then signed by you in readiness for exchange, together with the land registry transfer document, stamp duty land tax return and mortgage deed.

Negotiation of Completion Date

There is no point trying to finalise a completion date too early, particularly where there is a chain of transactions. You should not involve yourself in any irrecoverable costs until the date is fixed and this will only be on exchange. When all parties are ready to move to exchange, this is the time to begin to finalise the completion date and it is often the last term of the contract to be agreed. Having said this it is sensible to start a transaction with an estimated timescale.

Exchange of Contracts

It is customary for a 10% deposit to be paid on exchange, although very often a smaller sum is negotiated, particularly where a buyer is raising a mortgage of more than 90% of the purchase price. If you are in the middle of a chain you may not have to find a deposit for your purchase as the deposit presented by the buyer at the bottom is normally passed to the top of the chain, without addition by the parties in the middle.

Your conveyancer will exchange contracts over the telephone. The contract signed by you is exchanged with an identical contract signed by the other party. At this point all the terms of the contract crystallise e.g: the purchase price and the completion date are then fixed. This is the point of no return and you cannot withdraw without being in breach of contract. The seller’s conveyancer usually holds the deposit until the completion date, unless it is being used in connection with a simultaneous purchase.

There is nothing for you to do on the date of exchange other than to arrange building insurance, where necessary. As soon as exchange has taken place you will be notified by telephone, where possible.

Removal Arrangements

It is only after exchange of contracts that you can be certain of your moving date and can, therefore, finalise removal arrangements and begin to pack.

Preparation for Completion

Title and bankruptcy searches will be undertaken at this stage. When a mortgage is required a report on title will be prepared and submitted to the lender with a request for funds. 10 days notice can sometimes be required for your lender to ensure funds are available in time. Your conveyancer will prepare an invoice and a completion statement and will arrange to collect any money required from you.


In most cases you will only have to worry about the smooth running of your removal arrangements, having signed all documents prior to completion.

The conveyancer will keep you informed of progress on the day of completion.

On the day of completion the buyer’s conveyancer will send the money by electronic money transfer to the seller’s conveyancer. In return the transfer document and all other relevant documents will be forwarded to the buyer’s conveyancer.

After Completion

After completion your conveyancer will attend to any stamp duty land tax formalities and will then make application to the land registry for registration of your ownership of your new property. When registered you will be provided with a copy of the title and the original documents not needed by any lender.

Help Us To Help You

The period before exchange of contracts can be frustrating and stressful and chains of transactions collapse all too frequently. Be prepared for the worst and you may find it easier to cope with, if it happens to you.

Transactions are less likely to fall down where there is good and careful communication between the various parties and representatives. Please help us to help you by keeping others fully informed of progress e.g. estate agents and your buyer or seller. If you have any special requirements then you should discuss them with your conveyancer at the outset and it would be helpful if you would put such requirements in writing, or email. This could also save delays and help ensure that nothing is overlooked.

So, if you would like further advice about buying a home please contact Anthony, Natalie, Catherine, KarenAmy or Michelle on 01752 668246 or send an email by clicking here. Alternatively you can obtain an online conveyancing quote by clicking on the button at the top of the page.

Anthony Longville
Natalie Barham
Karen McCormick
Amy Paterson
Michelle Pepper